Growing up, I watched my parents volunteer and contribute to the community. Service and helping others were part of our family culture. Today, I try to model those values for my own children—involving them in philanthropy is a rewarding experience for all of us. One of our favourite new traditions is to spend Christmas Day volunteering at the Community Spirit Christmas Dinner. I believe philanthropy is the gateway for change and community engagement and is an avenue for people to find meaning and purpose in their lives.
I am honoured to be able to align my values with the work of Children’s Health Foundation. Our collective efforts as a team help children with disabilities and health challenges experience life with more play, laughter, and joy.
My son David was born with special needs. Shortly after his birth, I connected with the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health (QA), which at the time, in the mid ’80s, was still a hospital. Many children with special needs lived on site. I brought David to QA every day for therapies. As he grew older, I began to share David with QA—he lived part time with his family and part time at the hospital, where staff could make sure he had what he needed every moment of the day.
I felt safe leaving David at QA. The staff, children, and other families became our extended family. I saw the great work that happens at QA, and I wanted to be part of it. When a position opened up at the Foundation in 1999, I was glad to join the team and help give back to QA and support children with special needs—every child deserves the very best.
Challenges often bring blessings. Our son is considered disabled, and he continually teaches my wife and me some of the greatest and most important lessons of our lives. Through him we have met and worked with others with special needs in Canada and the Caribbean who amaze and inspire us. We have also benefitted directly from the expertise of the caring staff at the Queen Alexandra Centre.
I love my profession—facilitating donations to worthy causes. Sometimes these donations are among the most meaningful acts in the lives of those donating. Then, through their generous and selfless acts of giving, they bring immeasurable hope, joy, and comfort to others. For me now, to do this where children with disabilities and health challenges are the ones who beneift, is a rare privilege.
When I was seven years old I met a little girl who, due to very sad circumstances, lived in foster care. Her short life had been full of tragedy and challenge, but she was full of hope and dreamed of being a ballerina. In my closet at home, I had the most beautiful, sparkly red and white tutu — at the time it was my most treasured possession. It dawned on me that this little girl needed that tutu — and the hopes and dreams attached to it — more than I did. In the end, that tutu landed exactly where it was needed most.
I believe that fair doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same, fair means that everyone gets what they need. I want to help create a world where children and families get what they need, and I feel so lucky to have landed in a career that helps me live my values.
Please note — if you are looking for information about programs and medical services at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, which is part of the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), please call 250-519-5390.
If a situation with your child is urgent or requires immediate attention, please call 9-1-1 or visit the closest emergency room.